Week 10’s Toughest Start/Sit Decisions: Ronald Jones, Christian Kirk, David Montgomery
Every week fantasy football owners are confronted with difficult lineup questions. Who should you start, and who should you sit? That’s what many are left asking, often with little help. It’s good you landed here, as we can help each week using our Who Should I Start tool. Simply type in several players that you are deciding between per position or for your flex and we will let you know who the experts would start and who they would sit.
Here’s a look at the toughest start and sit decisions of the week along with our expert’s advice.
Start Kyle Murray (QB -ARI) or Jameis Winston (QB – TB)?
81% of Experts Would Start Winston
Things haven’t been great for Murray as of late, as he’s thrown just seven touchdowns over the last eight games, including zero passing touchdowns in four of the last six games. The offense’s pace has slowed down considerably, which is cutting into his upside. The play counts for the Cardinals this year have been 88-57-75-63-74-69-64-46-56. As you can see, things have trended down as the year’s gone on, and they’re averaging just 55.3 plays per game over the last three weeks. A matchup with the Bucs should help, as their games have netted an average of 134.6 plays per game, which is the highest mark in the league. Meanwhile, the Cardinals’ games have netted 129.6 plays per game, which ranks as the sixth-most in the league. This amounts to great things in fantasy. The Bucs have also allowed 310.3 passing yards and 2.4 passing touchdowns per game this year, which is why they’ve allowed each of the last six quarterbacks they’ve played at least 17.4 fantasy points and a top-14 quarterback finish. Prior to playing Russell Wilson last week, they hadn’t even played a quarterback who’s top-15 in fantasy points. It was not a shock to see Wilson throw for 378 yards and five touchdowns. With how great the Bucs have been against the run, we should see plenty of Murray this week, and the matchup doesn’t even require great efficiency to get the job done, as there’s just three quarterbacks who’ve averaged more than 7.6 yards per attempt against the Bucs. Murray should be started as a sturdy QB1 this week who comes with top-three upside if the efficiency is there.
We’ve now watched Winston finish as a top-16 quarterback in six straight weeks, including four top-10 performances in that time. He now heads into a matchup with the Cardinals, who’ve really struggled to contain quarterbacks this year, and as it turns out, their secondary hasn’t really improved with Patrick Peterson; it was just Daniel Jones who made them look that way. There have now been three different quarterbacks who’ve thrown four touchdowns against them, and there have been another two quarterbacks who threw three of them. The only quarterbacks who failed to throw at least two touchdowns and finish as the QB10 or better were Jones and Russell Wilson. While many might wonder about Wilson and why that happened, you should know that he completed 22-of-28 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown, so it wasn’t due to lack of efficiency. Knowing the Cardinals aren’t exactly a pushover against the run, we should see plenty of pass attempts out of Winston. It also doesn’t hurt that these two teams both rank in the top-six in terms of total plays per game (Bucs games net 134.6 plays, Cardinals 129.6 plays). Knowing the Cardinals have allowed 24 passing touchdowns to just two interceptions, there’s little reason to expect Winston to finish outside of QB1 territory this week. In fact, he’s cash-game viable.
Start David Montgomery (RB – CHI) or Devin Singletary (RB – BUF)?
93% of Experts Would Start Montgomery
Ever since Matt Nagy said, “I know we need to run the ball more, I’m not an idiot,” the Bears have given Montgomery a massive 48 touches over the last two games. He’s totaled 16 or more touches in five of the last seven games, so we have a clear-cut workhorse in him. The issue has been the offense in general, which can only improve from here, so seeing Montgomery tally 47.3 PPR points over the last two weeks is very promising. The Lions happen to be a great matchup, too. They’ve now allowed nine different running backs to tally 14.6 or more PPR points against them, including seven 20-plus point performances, which is the most in the NFL. In fact, no other team has allowed more than five such performances. Despite not catching any passes Josh Jacobs was able to tally 24.0 PPR points in Week 9 against them. It’s not just volume, either, as they’ve allowed 1.00 PPR points per opportunity (carries and targets), which ranks as the second-highest number in the league, so efficiency is there, too. When you get a workhorse running back tied to 20-plus touches in what’s one of the best matchups in football, you play him no matter what. Montgomery is in the low-end RB1 conversation this week.
Has there been a changing of the guard in Buffalo? It would appear so, as Gore has played just 38-of-121 snaps the last two weeks, while Singletary has played 81 snaps. They’re still giving Gore plenty of work (20 carries), but Singletary has racked up 30 touches over the last two weeks that have netted 189 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile, Gore’s 20 touches in that time have netted 49 scoreless yards. Not only have running backs averaged a respectable 27.9 touches per game against the Browns, but they’ve been highly efficient touches. The 4.93 yards per carry they’ve allowed is the second-most in football, while the 7.83 yards per target ranks as the third-highest mark. We’ve seen four different running backs tally 22-plus PPR points in the matchup and Phillip Lindsay probably would’ve been the fifth one had the Broncos run the ball more, as he totaled 15.2 points on just nine touches last week. There’s still some uncertainty with the backfield and you can’t automatically assume that Singletary is an RB2 for the rest of the season, as it seems somewhat unlikely that Gore just fades into oblivion. But if we’re playing the trends and the matchup, Singletary should be played as a low-end RB2 this week.
Start Ronald Jones (RB – TB) or Damien Williams (RB – KC)?
88% of Experts Would Start Jones
Something happened in Week 9. Jones started the game. Some will write it off as another unpredictable game from a Bucs running back, but Bruce Arians said that Jones has earned the right to start and has been more explosive than Barber. After his 82-yard, one-touchdown performance against the Seahawks, Jones should remain in the lead role. Over nine games, we’ve watched running backs average 28.3 touches per game against the Cardinals. The Bucs have had a timeshare, but this is a number that should allow Jones to hit 15-plus touches rather easily. While the workload has shifted from week-to-week, we’re talking about playing the percentages here. The Cardinals haven’t been a pushover defense on the ground while allowing 4.41 yards per carry, though that’s not shutdown territory. The crazy part is that they’ve allowed just four touchdowns on 213 carries, or one every 53.3 carries, which is a top-five mark in the NFL. Touchdowns are tough to predict but knowing this timeshare of Jones/Barber has combined for just six rushing touchdowns all year, they’re not easy to come by. There have been just five running backs who’ve finished as top-24 options against the Cardinals, and each of them totaled at least 21 touches, which is something we know better than to expect out of this backfield, leaving Jones in the low-end RB2/high-end RB3 conversation, though there’s hope for more.
There’s been one occasion all year where a Chiefs running back has seen more than 14 touches in a game, and that was way back in Week 1. That’s while their team is 6-3, so it’s not gamescript-related. This is a full-blown timeshare. The Titans haven’t been a team to target on the ground, as they’ve allowed just one running back (Christian McCaffrey) to top 74 yards on the ground against them. Going back to the start of last season with Mike Vrabel, they’ve allowed just 12 rushing touchdowns through 23 games, which is fifth lowest mark in the NFL over that time. They’ve also allowed just three receiving touchdowns to running backs in that span, putting the final tally to 15 running back touchdowns over their last 23 games, which ranks as the second-lowest mark behind only the Patriots. The production through the air has been equally as frustrating with the Chiefs, so it’s best not to rely on Williams for more than low-end RB2 numbers and be happy if he emerges as the clear-cut lead back moving forward.
Start John Brown (WR – BUF) or Marvin Jones (WR – DET)?
59% of Experts Would Start Brown
We’re now halfway through the season and Brown has totaled at least 9.5 PPR points in every game, including two games with 19-plus PPR points. He’s done all that while scoring just two touchdowns, so there’s room for more. There’s been just one game he’s finished outside of the top-40 receivers, so we already have the floor. The Browns have a healthy secondary now, which clouds the matchup, as both Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams missed multiple games earlier in the year. They did allow Courtland Sutton to finish with 56 yards and a touchdown last week, but if you saw his touchdown grab, that’s not a catch Brown makes. Ward and Williams have combined to allow just 16-of-31 passing for 239 yards and one touchdown in their coverage this year, which is nothing to get excited about. Despite the injuries to Ward and Williams, the Browns have allowed just nine wide receivers to finish as top-36 (WR3 or better) options, or essentially one per game. Brown does line up on Williams’ side of the field much more often than Ward’s, and if you had to choose, that’s the cornerback you’d rather go against, as he’s a rookie who may get outplayed by the veteran. Keep Brown in lineups as a high-end WR3 who could have an explosion in the coming weeks if he starts scoring touchdowns.
It seemed like it was going to be a 200-yard game for Jones last week, though things died down a bit in the second-half. Still, he now has 77-plus yards in four of his last six games. Unfortunately, there’s a low floor in between those games, as he’s finished with just 17 and 22 yards in the other two games. His targets are also a bit more volatile than Golladay’s, seeing five or less targets on four separate occasions. Despite the Bears defense not being what it once was, their secondary has still been very limiting to wide receivers, as they’ve allowed just six top-36 performances on the season. Every one of the receivers who made it into startable territory saw at least seven targets and caught at least six passes. The Bears have allowed just 20 pass-plays that have netted 20-plus yards, which ranks as the fifth-lowest mark in football. Jones totaled just three catches for 55 scoreless yards in the meeting between the two teams last year. He’s too hot to bench right now, so you must live with the weak performances in order to get the big ones. Unfortunately, this doesn’t look like one of the big ones, making him a low-end WR3.
Start Christian Kirk (WR – ARI) or D.J. Moore (WR – CAR)?
55% of Experts Would Start Kirk
He’s seen at least five targets in every game, including three games with 11 or more targets. The production has been minimal due to the lack of touchdowns but follow the opportunity and fantasy points will follow. The Bucs have been a matchup to target with wide receivers, as they’ve allowed a massive 45.5 PPR points per game to wide receivers, which is the most in the league, and it’s not even close. The closest team is the Raiders who’ve allowed 42.1 PPR points per game. Because of that, there have been 15 receivers who’ve scored 10.8 or more PPR points against them. There’s no other team who’s allowed more than 14 such performances. With Fitzgerald seemingly deteriorating in front of our eyes, Kirk needs to step up and be ‘the guy’ in this offense. We just watched Tyler Lockett have the best game of his career in the slot against them, racking up 13 receptions for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Part of the reason the Bucs are bleeding production is due to cornerback Carlton Davis missing time. He tried coming back in Week 9 but hurt himself in warmups and couldn’t due to his hip injury, so he’s not likely to play here. Kirk is one of the better buy-lows in fantasy football and he might just slam that door shut in Week 10. Play him as a WR2 with upside this week. He should be safe enough to play in cash lineups, too.
It’s clear that he and Allen are now on the same page, as he’s seen 37 targets over the last four games that have netted 25 receptions for 303 yards, though Moore hasn’t found the end zone since way back in Week 3. Moore’s 28 percent target share during that time is massive, though Samuel has slightly edged him in air yards. The Packers are a weird defense to pick up on. They’ve seen the 15th fewest targets (155), allowed the fifth-fewest receptions (88), and the fifth-fewest touchdowns (5) to receivers, but have allowed the eighth-most yards (1,532). The 17.4 yards per reception they’re allowing is easily the highest in the NFL, as no other team is over 15.7 yards per reception. They’ve allowed nine top-36 wide receiver performances this year, and that’s through nine games, so an average of just one per game. This matchup might better suit Samuel’s role, as he’s more of the downfield receiver, but it’s impossible to pass on Moore’s target-share. He should be in lineups as a low-end WR2/high-end WR3.
Start Gerald Everett (TE – LAR) or Greg Olsen (TE – CAR)?
82% of Experts Would Start Olsen
You know the fantasy season has gone haywire when owners can’t wait until Everett comes back from his bye week. It’s been a whirlwind for him this season, as someone who appeared destined for his lackluster role the first three weeks, but since Week 4, Everett has more air yards than any tight end in the league (not including Week 9). Some may wonder why that matters so much. Well, it’s what correlates the most to success at the tight end position. Here are the other leaders since that time: Travis Kelce, Austin Hooper, Zach Ertz, and Mark Andrews. The Steelers have allowed a 71.9 percent catch-rate to the tight end position this year, which is above the league average, and have allowed a touchdown every 11.4 targets. They’ve also allowed four different tight ends to emerge from the game with at least four catches and 45 yards. Everett should be considered a somewhat stable low-end TE1 with upside.
Olsen has totaled at least 40 yards in two of the last three games, but he continues to be extremely matchup dependent. Fortunately for him, the Packers have been a somewhat giving team to tight ends this year, allowing 14.4 PPR points per game to the position, which ranks as the eighth-most in the league. They’ve allowed top-12 finishes to five different tight ends, including a 126-yard, two-touchdown outburst to Darren Waller just a few weeks ago. With the struggles they’re having stopping the deep-ball, we could see them hang back a bit and allow Olsen to run free underneath while trying to prevent Curtis Samuel from getting over the top. We’ve seen a wide range of outcomes out of him, so when considering him, you need to understand he has a zero-point fantasy floor. There was a game where he had zero yards, and another he had just five yards. He’s also failed to score in any non-Cardinals game. The odd part is that Olsen’s targets haven’t correlated with Allen’s pass attempts, so even though we expect more passes out of the team, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll go to Olsen, who’s a mediocre streaming option.